Israel an economic model for other nations, says author

Israel has gained success as a model region because it invests in future generations.

So say Jeff Saperstein and Daniel Rouach, authors of “Creating Regional Wealth in the Innovation Economy” (384 pages, Prentice Hall Financial Times, $34).

Israel also coordinates efforts among industry, the university system and government in the name of progress, says Saperstein, a Mill Valley marketing and advertising entrepreneur. Mandatory military service exposes young people to technology advancement and Israeli industry recruits those who demonstrate exemplary skills.

In addition, university engineering programs recruit top high school students, delaying their military service in order to train them for special military projects.

So, while American Jews read news about Israel’s political challenges, the controversy surrounding settlements and the new security fence and the intifada, the business sector of Israel is a success story.

“The relationship of Israeli Jews with the rest of the world is much different than what is portrayed in the American news,” said Saperstein. “It is important for our young generation to see this — or else why would they want to be part of the diaspora future?”

Saperstein and Rouach teach regional economic development in Silicon Valley and France, respectively. A few years ago, they began a knowledge-transfer program for their university students. The students visit each country’s technological hub to recognize the strengths gained by companies collaborating across traditional country boundaries.

“Young generations have so many new opportunities on a global scale than our generation did,” Saperstein said.

In their book, subtitled “Models, Perspectives and Best Practices,” Saperstein and Rouach discuss how Israel’s role on the world stage has become a success story for other regions to follow, and they outline the future of business as one that goes beyond national borders.

They make a compelling argument that multinational corporations have changed the structure of the traditional workplace, bridging countries and utilizing regional experts and skills to create a virtual office on a global scale.

Saperstein and Rouach’s model views a country’s economic development separately from its political challenges. Because Israel is seen as a model for creating technology the world needs, it can no longer be isolated or boycotted, Saperstein said.

The Israelis have created links with companies throughout the world, including a strong collaborative effort with India. Saperstein said wherever he goes to speak on the importance of regional collaboration — whether it is Japan or Australia — everyone is interested in partnering with Israel.

Rouach and Saperstein hope their book can show the world that positive developments are coming out of Israel despite the country’s setbacks.